Caring for yourself is an act of generosity – 6 things that will help

self care Mar 11, 2022
 Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

All through the pandemic I have been talking to people who are stressed and exhausted by the pressures of their job, their relationships, home schooling their children and generally trying to keep their life afloat.  None of them feels that they can stop anything they are doing, they are key workers, they are team leaders, they are carers, maybe they are nursing sick relatives – they cannot give up because there is no one else.  As we come to what appears to be something closer to what counts as “normality” the pressure is not getting any less.

The reality is that no human being can survive under this level of pressure for long periods of time.  So, what can you do to make sure that you care for yourself?  Because if you collapse so does the support system that you provide and collapsing tends often to be sudden and messy.  Caring for yourself is vital if you are to go on caring for others.

  1. Decide what you would do to care for yourself if you could find a spare half-hour every day. Don’t make it complicated – having a warm bath, reading a book,  or just staring at the wall is fine – it just needs to be something that will make you feel just a little more in control.
  2. Force yourself you make a list of all the thing that you “have” to do and decide:
    1. Are these really things that only you can do?
    2. Are they all worth doing – what will happen if you stop? 
    3. Who are the people you can ask for help? Partners, children (generally more capable than you think – my lovely 7-year-old grandson puts out the bins every week), neighbours, family, friends, colleagues?
  3. Then make the next list with the objective of gaining half an hour a day for yourself:
    1. What am I stopping doing?
    2. What help am I going to ask for? Ask them for things that are small, easy and ideally regular. 
  4. Then start to work your way through the asks. Be honest about why you are asking for help.  “I am at the end of my tether; I can’t go on like this.  Please could you help me.  If you can’t that’s quite alright”. These are very hard words to say but that you have to say them.
  5. DO NOT think:
    1. But I can do this more quickly myself
    2. The children are too young to get their own breakfast
    3. I have to be at these meetings – etc etc
  6. When you have found that half an hour guard it – it is yours. You have earned it!